Why should I write a review?

By guest author: Samantha Shay

 
“I learned that I am able to adjust to just about any situation.”
“The trajectory of my entire life changed because I studied abroad. And I cannot imagine my life without it now.”
“I REGRET NOTHING.”
“I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”
“I learned to be ‘tough,’ and I grew as a person in ways I can’t explain.”
-Excerpts from some recent Abroad101 student reviews
 

A recent New York Times article stated, “Globalization is here to stay, and students who want to work in our interconnected global world should study abroad…Making study abroad a part of their education is the most effAbroad101.com write a reviewective and accessible means for students to develop needed skills because it pushes a student to get out of her comfort zone to experience another culture, language, environment and education system.”[1]With a mission to promote global citizenship by fostering the most meaningful study abroad experiences for all students through technology innovation in international education, Abroad101 has collected the stories of over 22,000 students’ international pursuits through over 8,800 abroad programs.  Whether you studied abroad to explore your heritage, pursue an academic goal or field of study, or immerse yourself in a culture different than your own, we want to add your story to our collection.

 Allan E. Goodman and Stacie Nevadomski Berdan, New York Times, May 12 2014.  http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/10/17/should-more-americans-study-abroad/every-student-should-study-abroad

Why should I write a review?

What better capstone to a life-changing experience abroad than to share your story and your advice with someone else?  Abroad101 is an abundant resource for students who are in the process of choosing an abroad program that will fit them well.  Your story could directly impact the program choice of a prospective traveler.  By submitting a review to Abroad101, you are contributing to a collective database of student stories that future abroad students can access easily.  How accessible was healthcare in your city?  Did you spend more money on food than you expected to?  How many hours a day did you speak a foreign language?  By answering these questions and others like them, you create a sketch of a prospective student’s program experience.  If while abroad you faced challenges you didn’t foresee, or elements of your program that didn’t work for you, sharing this feedback and advice for others to access is a generous way to reflect on those experiences.

By sharing a review with Abroad101, you are creating a sketch of abroad life not only for prospective students to consider, but for their families and peers to read as well.  Consider your review a tribute to protective parents everywhere.  At the recent “Women in Travel” Summit, Abroad101 received strong feedback that reviews are just as useful and enlightening to parents and teachers as they are to other students.[1]  The WITS attendees mentioned details about safety and quality of administration as top curiosities and concerns when students are choosing an abroad program.  By addressing these topics in your review, as well as answering questions that target many other aspects of your program experience, you can really illustrate what life was like for you during your semester abroad.

Your positive feedback, or constructive criticism, can benefit the future of your program.  Abroad101 offers administrators and program providers access to evaluation data collected directly from students, and they can access student reviews and feedback on our website just as easily as other students can.  Your words have the power to support a program you feel strongly about, or alternatively, to help initiate changes within a program to benefit future students’ experiences.  Additionally, since students submit reviews directly through our website and independently from the programs in which they participated, readers can trust that the reviews are as honest and unbiased as possible.

Most importantly, submitting a review of your semester abroad benefits you!  A 2010 market research study reported, “of the U.S. recruiters and HR professional surveyed, 75% report that their companies have formal policies in place that require hiring personnel to research applicants online.”[2]  According to Idealist Careers, “employees are looking for positive things: discovering how well you communicate…getting a sense of how professionally you present yourself…”[3]  Whether you plan to pursue graduate school, a job or internship, or another abroad program, having published a well constructed, thoughtful review on Abroad101 will give you an edge with employers, grad schools, and other potential post grad opportunities – show your reflective writing skills, showcasing your experience abroad, and reflecting on how your experience changed your outlook on the world.

 [1] http://www.travelgogirl.com/witsummit/
[2] http://www.job-hunt.org/guides/DPD_Online-Reputation-Research_overview.pdf via http://idealistcareers.org/employers-are-googling-you-now-what/
[3] http://idealistcareers.org/employers-are-googling-you-now-what/
[1] Allan E. Goodman and Stacie Nevadomski Berdan, New York Times, May 12 2014.  http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/10/17/should-more-americans-study-abroad/every-student-should-study-abroad

 

image of Samantha ShaySamantha Shay is a Patron Services Assistant at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and studied abroad in France.  Please read her study abroad review.

Connect with Samantha through LinkedIn

Living with a Host Family

DSCN2281Kellie is an Abroad101 Global Ambassador, who spent the spring of 2013 studying abroad in Paris, France with AIFS.  In this post she tells us why you should consider living with a host family when you study abroad!

“When I chose to live with a host family I knew I would gain cultural and language experience, but I honestly had no idea what I was signing myself up for. Let me start by telling you about my first night in Paris where I started to question whether it was too late to just fly back to Texas. Continue reading

Follow Your Dreams Wherever They May Take You…

Rainboweiffel

Kellie is an Abroad101 Global Ambassador this semester, blogging about her adventures abroad in Paris with AIFS.  Read on to hear how she followed her dreams- all the way to the Eiffel Tower!

“First off, let me start by saying how much of a blessing this whole experience has been. I could not have done this without my friends, family, my boyfriend, AIFS, Abroad 101, and everyone else that had a part in making my Paris dreams come true. So thank you all! Now that I got that out of the way, I will desperately try over the next couple of weeks to articulate how wonderful this adventure has been and why you should experience your own. Continue reading

Plan the Perfect Spring Break Abroad

GAmacaroons

Abroad101 Global Ambassador Katie O’Brien blogs from Perugia, Italy.  In this post she shares with us tips for planning the perfect spring break adventure across France, Spain, and Morocco. Continue reading

Meet Abroad101 Global Ambassador, Kellie James

Parisredpurse

Kellie is an Abroad101 Global Ambassador blogging from Paris, France.

Each semester Abroad101 chooses the most compelling student bloggers, photographers, and videographers to serve as Global Ambassadors.  As GAs, these students are tasked to document their adventures in a way that is inspiring, exciting, honest, and transformative.  Through the well crafted words and images of our Global Ambassadors, our readers are able to travel the world right along with them. Continue reading

5 Moments I’ll Remember Most About Spain

Student Blogger Kerianne Baylor from Marist College is studying abroad in Spain with Academic Programs International (API). In this post she shares with us the 5 experiences she’ll remember most about her time on the Iberian Peninsula.  Read her charming tales, and then make your own memories by applying for a $2,500 scholarship to study abroad with API!

Plaza de España in Sevilla

Continue reading

If I Had a Study Abroad Do-Over

Angie Orth

Angie Orth, courtesy of angieaway.com

Today we have a very special guest on our blog. We are honored to feature the lovely and VERY well travelled Angie Orth, who studied abroad in Paris back in 2003. Today Angie has a successful travel blog that documents her jaunts through the slums in Kenya to gelato in Rome and everything in between. We asked Angie if she could reflect a bit on her own study abroad experience and how it’s shaped who she is today. Here’s what she had to say.

Continue reading

5 travel books to get you excited for abroad!

 

books

photo credit:
brody4

Last week, we published “5 Awesome Travel Movies” to help those in need of further wanderlust. This week, we are tackling the best of the travel books. Note: many of these have been made into movies too! Whether you want to get more excited for your travels or need a good beach read, see 5 awesome travel books below. Continue reading

5 Awesome Travel Movies

So, you’ve decided to study abroad. The countdown to departure has begun and all you can think about is what it will be like to eat, sleep, study, party and play in your destination of choice. You’ve already Googled everything you can and watched plenty of YouTube videos on your new country. Have you looked up fun travel movies to watch? Here are 5 of (many) that are good picks. What else would you recommend? Leave a comment and tell us about others!

Fun Movies

photo credit:
Sheryl’s Boys

In no particular order:

Midnight in Paris: This recent flick is for the Paris lovers and Woody Allen fans. Dripping in the sights and sounds of Paris, you could get lost in how much love people have for this city, throughout the world and throughout time.

L’auberge Espangnole (The Spanish Apartment): This is a foreign flick in subtitles yet gives a pretty good glimpse into apartment life with other international students. It’s not the most Oscar worthy film, but pretty entertaining especially if you’re interested in Barcelona.

Eat, Pray, Love: If you’re interested in solo, soul-finding travel, you may want to see this movie. (actually you should read the book first) Julia Roberts portrays Elizabeth Gilbert, a middle aged writer, living in New York, in need of a major life change. She travels through Italy India and Bali for one year to find herself, love and many other things.

Outsourced: This movie is about the growth and adjustment people go through when they travel abroad. A man at an American company is suddenly ordered to India so he can train those who will be serving as the outsourced customer service dept. While he highly resists India for the first half of the movie, he ends up loving his experience. This one comes highly recommended!

Lost in Translation: Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson make for an unlikely pair in this movie set in Tokyo, Japan. They’re both Americans who befriend each other when “stuck” in a foreign land for several months. Through travel, they get to know each other and themselves!

 

 

 

 

Check out Forum-Nexus for great summer abroad program options!

 

 

One of the most difficult tasks of studying abroad is making a decision on where to go! There are SO many program options available, especially in Europe. If you’ve been dreaming of backpacking through the Swiss Alps, indulging in local cuisine in Italy, learning about the historical and cultural remnants in Berlin, or visiting multinational companies in Barcelona, then keep reading to learn more about Forum-Nexus and their multi-country summer programs! Continue reading